Rules of photographing elections in Hungary

Photo by Attila Volgyi /

Photo by Attila Volgyi /

I wrote about the photographing of a lot of various situations on the blog including their regulation aspects too. Now elections are coming in Hungary and this is great opportonuty for me to write about who, what and how can photograph during the elections. This doesn’t affect so many photographers as my previous posts (unfortunately not all of them are translated into English yet) about rules of photographing on public property, rules of photographing at festivals, Constitutional Court decided the debate and Hungarian police officers can be photographed and how police officer face blurring turned into a meme in Hungary, police officers won’t fine you for taking photos, and police officers can’t delete your photos, photography ban on Elisabeth square is just a misunderstanding, and all my general copyright, personal rights and other profession related posts – or practically anything else I wrote before on my blog.

Around each of Hungary’s elections a lot of varius legal questions arise as well. Maybe because we don’t go to cast our votes that often and we don’t photograph the elections any more often either. There are usually a lot of arguments between both civilian participants, media workers and also the officials who should be informed about things. Some of them may think or interpret regulations or the lack of them differently. I tried to collect all the regulations in regards photographing the elections.

Click the picture for the story of it!
Photo by Attila Volgyi /

Regardless if it is a European parliamentary election, a national parliamentary election, a local authority election or a referendum on a particular decision voting is the most important act of representative democracy. This is citizens’ most important (practically the only) possibility to voice their opinion and directly influence decision making. Many call voting the celebration of democracy. (Of course citizens can and need to do many things other than voting as well to influence decision making, but elections are the only institutional, official and regular possibility for this.)

There are a lot of stories like the one published by a local website in Hungarian about the debate with local voting committee about wether sommeone can photograph in the voting room or not.

Official rules
In the original version of this post on my Hungarian blog you can read the full and official answer of the National Election Committee about photographing the elections. As foreigners are less regularly involved in this kind of activity in Hungary I rather just summarise it in English instead of a full and proper translation:

  • Photo by Attila Volgyi /

    Election rules are governed by the law 2013. year XXXVI. 170 §-181 §.

  • Taking and using a mobile phone or other image capture device into the polling station aren’t forbidden by the law.
  • National Election Committee has a directive (labeled 12/2014. NVB) about the ban on photographing and taking the voting sheets outside the polling station
    Taking photos or video about the voting sheet or moving it outside the polling station can compromise legality of the election and allows tampering or corruption of voting.
  • Photo by Attila Volgyi /

    Journalists can be present in the polling stations without prior registration on the day of the election from start (6am) until the end of the  work (including the registration of the votes after voting is over).

  • Journalists may not disturb the work of officials, cannot breach secrecy of voting, cannot look into the register of voters and cannot take photos of it.
  • Election officials may only inform the media about the number of voters at the polling station.
  • Journalists may not interview voters inside the polling station and no campaign activity is allowed in a 150 m proximity from the entrance of the polling station.
  • Members of the media are obliged (stated by the 17/2013. (VII. 17.) KIM decree 20/B §.) to show to the officials their mandatory identification documents: pesonal identification documents (personal ID card, passport or driver’s licence) and the press ID validated by the employing media outlet or professional association.
  • Officials at foreign delegations may accept other documents as well depending on the local circumstances.

Have you had any problems in this regard?

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